Taiwanese Beef Noodles

MAKES 4 bowls of noodles, but with two hours of occasional “taste- testing.”
ADAPTED from Food 52

NOTES: I made this during a long afternoon of reading John Le Carre’s novels and I fear that now when I think of Soviet spies in Switzerland, it will smell of soy saucy beefy goodness. I used a Korean brand of noodles that has a cooking time of 3 minutes!

INGREDIENTS: 2 scallions, 4 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, 1 whole star anise, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 1/2 pound beef shank, cut into 3/4″ pieces, 1/2 cup rice wine, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons rock sugar, 1 handful of small tomatoes, 1 pound of thin Asian-style noodles, 1 small head napa cabbage, washed and cut into 3″ pieces

DIRECTIONS: Chop scallions and mince garlic and ginger. In a large saucepan, saute the first four ingredients in the oil for 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook until just browned. Add the wine, soy sauce, water, sugar, and tomato and heat to boiling. Reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 2 hours.

About 15 minutes before the beef is done, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook while stirring occasionally for 1 minute. Add the napa cabbage and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain off most of the water.

Divide the noodles and cabbage among 6 large bowls, adding a little of the excess hot water. Add the beef on top and ladle in some of the sauce, making sure to remove the star anise.


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